It set a gold standard for love stories, one that countless filmmakers, actors and actresses tried to emulate over the subsequent years. Many more Rahuls popped up on screen, and with the aid of catchy songs and elaborate dances, tried to pull the heart strings of youngsters.
Therefore it might come as a surprise that I’m advocating the opposite of what Simran did. I’m saying, sometimes, it’s better to tear the train ticket.
If any explanation of mine has to make sense from now on, a few disclaimers need to be announced in order to restore my immediately damaged credibility. I am not a young man who has been jilted by a loved one; I’m not bitter because I’m not good looking enough. It may be true….but I am not bitter about it. Neither am I a religiously fanatical person espousing conservative values in the guise of a young man’s frank, ‘modern’ opinion. There is no one holding a gun to my head asking me to type this.
I used to believe in love. Okay, wrong sentence formation. Rather, a clichéd one that’s been used by every drunkard railing against the injustices of his ex – wife who left him with nothing after their divorce. What I mean is, I was an eager proponent of the ultra-modern version of love, where every young man’s dream is to find the perfect, beautiful, smart and understanding girl who will be his partner for life.
There are different versions of this belief. Some feel that religion, caste and nationality don’t matter. For a narrower section, age is no barrier either. Be it a four year gap, or a fourteen year one.
I was a moderate follower of this thought process. I believed that finding the girl who could perfectly understand you was the most crucial aspect of a young man’s life. I sometimes even felt that breaking societal taboos was fine as long as it helped me in the long run. After all, if I married a girl from a different nationality, how many years would have to pass before the frown on that distant uncle’s face could be wiped away? Four, five? I’d still be happy after that. For possibly 30 or 50 years to come.
That was the flaw in my reasoning. And it took me the breast-fed growth of a niece and nephew to understand it. By the time the little girl and boy turned on their back, began crawling, slowly craned their head around as they stood up, and tentatively took their first few steps, all the subliminal messaging that had been conveyed through choreographed dances in Switzerland and Australia vanished.
Because more often than not, the ending credits pop up just after the guy gets to kiss the girl and emphatically signal to the theatre goer that they are finally happy. Very rarely does the placard ‘Nine months later’ show up on the screen shortly thereafter.
Which is really a pity, for that is when the first cracks in the wonderful proposition championed by movies begin to show.
Raising a child is one of the toughest jobs in the world. Don’t believe me? Ask the sleep deprived, disheveled, exhausted mother at the coffee shop who is ordering her third cup of espresso. But keep your distance; they might snarl at you.
For those wondering if this is a subtle article espousing the best ways to tackle child rearing, fear not. I am not implying that two young adults who have chosen to marry against their parents’ wishes might be losing out on free babysitters. But that partially covers it.
Most of you reading this won’t be able to remember the first three or four years of your life. I can’t. But I see my nephew and niece every day. I see them grow taller and walk faster. I see them develop tantrums while learning new words. But what I also see is those intangibles that leave a deep mark on their minds without them even realizing it.
My mother – their grandmother – prepares the food that they eat, with the same blessed and skilled hands that will set the table with their favorite dishes when they eagerly return during their college break. My father – their grand old granddaddy – willingly acts as the bad man ready to shout at them in a bid to induce an appetite now. Funnily enough, the same grisly white bearded man will lovingly slip them extra pocket money from his pension when they’re dying to watch a new summer blockbuster years from now.
I’m the guy who is whiling away his time on the laptop now, as my nephew tries in vain to grab the charger wire. The guy who they innocently stare at as they hear my parents advise me. They’ll leap forward and ignorantly hug me once the well intentioned lecturing is over. Little do they know that I’ll return that hug years later, when I softly whisper that they need to listen to their mother.
Every pop song and movie scene has spent so much time telling us that we need to find the single person to spend our life with, that it forgets the bigger picture. Love is not just about romantic kisses in the rain (not even upside down kisses, Spiderman). Love is not just about driving away with a girl as her parents try to stop you. Love, we need to realize, is not just about your happiness. For that is pure selfishness. True love is when you decide to find the person who will help you create a better future for you and your family than the one your parents gave you.
It might sound like I am advocating against elopement or marrying against your parents’ wishes. No. Nothing is black and white. But if multi-crore movie projects can advocate true love as finding the one person who completes you, and nothing else, then a small article like this can protest, cant it?
The greatest joy imaginable is not when you kiss in the rain. It’s when you cradle a baby in your arm, and introduce it to the people that will shape its life. The same way a room full of people shaped yours.
Sometimes….just sometimes, it’s better to tear the train ticket.
[Disclaimers :DilwaleDulhaniya Le Jayenge was used as a metaphor alone. Which means what I am advocating does not strictly apply to the fictional characters in that movie.]